Number of sports injuries among kids increasing - KATV - Breaking News, Weather and Razorback Sports

Number of sports injuries among kids increasing

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Tearing an ACL is a common sports injury. What's not common is when the athlete who tears it is only 13 years old.


Steven Holmquist lives and breathes soccer but for several months he couldn't play after suffering a major injury.


"I had taken a shot and was going to make sure the goalie didn't drop it, because he had earlier in the game, and I'd scored off that. I was planted and I stopped and my knee just hyperextended. I was out," said Steven.


When Steven says he was out - he was unconscious. He woke up to find out he had torn his ACL, as well as both menisci. 


Orthopedic surgeon Dr. Tad Pruitt was not surprised.


"We're seeing a lot more ACL tears in younger athletes especially in what we call skeletal immature adolescents. Those are the kids that are still in the rapid stage of growth, but have not completed their growth. They haven't achieved their final height."


Dr. Pruitt attributes the increase in injuries to the higher level of play the kids are competing in at earlier ages. The risk can come with consequence.


"If you're 25 and you have part of your meniscus removed, it may not be that big of a deal. But if you're 13 or 14 and you have to have that same surgery, that's pretty much certainly going to lead to some arthritis down the road."


Dr. Pruitt says there's not a lot you can do to prevent ACL injuries outside of playing on proper surfaces and wearing proper equipment. He says some research that suggests hamstring strengthening exercises may help prevent ACL injuries.


After months of rehab Steven now wears a brace, but is back on the field and has no plans on slowing down.


"You gonna take soccer, you going to play as long as you can. As long as I can," said Steven.


Dr. Pruitt says kids' injuries are more common in the summertime, which we are headed into right now. He says make sure your kids have the proper safety equipment, teach them common sense, and put them in the right environment to stay safe.